Read all the latest LAC News, Blogs, Events and Highlights here.

LAC President Quoted in USA Today, Calls for More Syringe Exchange, Prevention and Treatment

In the May 7 article Hepatitis C infections soaring, fueled by prescription painkiller abuse by Liz Szabo of USA Today, Legal Action Center’s Director and President Paul Samuels is cited for his call to expand access to needle exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. Samuels also calls for more substance use prevention and treatment, more medications to treat opioid addiction, and other harm reduction activities to combat the opioid epidemic and its consequences.

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Join Us for a National Call-In Day and Support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

Join the National Call-In Day on Wednesday, April 29 by calling your Senators and Representative in Congress and asking them to co-sponsor and support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

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New Report: Improved Medication-Assisted Treatment Policy Could Combat Epidemic of 20 Million Americans with Untreated Addiction

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the reintroduction of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Legal Action Center (LAC) released a report urging policymakers to take steps to address the growing opioid and heroin epidemic through more effective use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

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HHS proposes rule to implement parity in Medicaid Managed Care, CHIP, and Alternative Benefit Plans

LAC welcomes the strong provisions of the proposed rule, including provisions that apply much of the final parity rule for commercial insurance to Medicaid, expressly extend parity protections to people enrolled in managed care plans that carve out coverage for addiction and mental health treatment, and authorize states to include funding in their state plans to come into compliance with parity that is not subject to state plan limits.

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Masood and Suydam Join Legal Action Center Board

The Legal Action Center has elected two new members to serve on its board of directors: Kamran Masood, a principal in the Forensic Practice of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, and John J. Suydam, Chief Legal Officer of Apollo Global Management, LLC.

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LAC President Paul Samuels Discusses Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Addiction Blog Interview

The interview followed the release of LAC’s new report, “Confronting an Epidemic: The Case for Eliminating Barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment of Heroin and Opioid Addiction”. It includes a detailed discussion about the types of medications currently available for the treatment of opioid addiction, the barriers that exist that prevent people from receiving these life-saving treatments, and ways to expand access to MAT. It also reminds readers about the lives we can save by making these treatments more available.

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NY Attorney General Finds Excellus Denied Claims for Inpatient Addiction Services at Seven Times the Rate of Other Services, Violating Parity Law

March 18, 2015 – NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Excellus Health Plan for wrongly denying addiction and mental health benefits to thousands of New Yorkers in violation of state and federal parity laws. The settlement requires Excellus—which is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and has 1.5 million members in upstate New York—to cover residential treatment for addiction and mental illness and overhaul its claims review process for these services. It also requires Excellus to provide notice of a new appeal right to 3,300 members whose claims for addiction and mental health services were previously denied. The new appeals could return up to $9 million to patients.

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LAC President and Former Drug Czar Urge Congress to Pass CARA, Expand MAT to Combat Heroin Epidemic

LAC Director and President Paul Samuels and Former U.S. Drug Czar and retired Army General Barry McCaffrey published an op-ed in The Hill last week calling on Congress to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA.

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New York Attorney General Finds ValueOptions Denied Claims for Addiction Services at Four Times the Rate of Other Services, Reaches Settlement Including $900,000 Fine

March 5, 2015 – New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Beacon Health Options (formerly known as ValueOptions) for wrongly denying addiction and mental health benefits to millions of New Yorkers in violation of state and federal parity laws. The settlement requires ValueOptions—which administers behavioral health benefits to 2.7 million New Yorkers and 45 million Americans—to overhaul its claims review process and pay a $900,000 penalty. The settlement against ValueOptions is the fourth reached by AG Schneiderman’s Health Care Bureau since last year, making AG Schneiderman’s office a national leader in enforcing the federal parity law.

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LAC Director of State Policy, Sebastian Solomon, Testifies at Budget Hearing

Albany, NY – February 25, 2015 – Sebastian Solomon, LAC’s new Director of New York State Policy, will be testifying tomorrow on behalf of the NYS Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) and Re-entry Coalition in response to the Governor’s FY2015-2016 Executive budget.

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